Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Day 6: Day of Rain

It was a miserable rainy day in Amsterdam. But it was a softer rain than the rain in England. The day started off rough when I awoke to the sound of howling winds that rocked the boat violently. I thought it was rain so I bolted out of the bed as best I could to check my belongings.

I had not figured out how to close to "door". The door is two pieces of wood that slid into groves and are secured by the sliding roof and a simple lock secures it.

I had lowered the bottom half of the door, but hadn't lowered the top part so I was afraid rain had gotten in. No, it wasn't actually raining! It was the sound of the ropes straining and the flags whipping in the wind.

I struggled to get dressed, although part of new wanted to just lounge about on the boat. It was windy, blustery & raining. Luckily I borrowed my host's weather beater jacket which was lines and came with a hood. I looked like I was a local.

No one approached me with their ubiquitous hand outs, no one bothered me. I walked about 5 miles trying to figure out where I was. 

I had no cash except for the few English pounds, and I was uncertain where to change my cash. Instead I went into the "tourist information" store which had an ATM that said "gratis" so I pulled some cash out that way.

Fully armed with cash, I looked for breakfast! I found this little place Dwaze Zaken, I went all adventurous and tried the Dutch porridge and cappuccino. The porridge was much like a soupy oatmeal, which I love! I pour milk all over my oatmeal all the time. One, it was beautifully presented, two it was amazingly the Mose delicious soupy oatmeal I've ever eaten! And the capper? They had free wifi! boom!

Fully strengthened with a delicious breakfast(at 1130a) I used trip advisor to find my way around. Since it was raining and I am having foot issues, my body wasn't willing to do much, so I hit the "attractions" nearby and proceeded to walk. And walk. And walk. I found the Dam Square, saw the Royal Palace, but didn't go in. I've spent more than I wanted to in London and it was going to hurt if I didn't curtail my museum musings.

I basically just followed my feet and let myself wander down some lovely narrow streets where pedestrians fought for space between cars, motors and bicycles. It was a moving piece of work. You can always tell the tourists, they end up getting honked or causing a near collision.

I wandered down a random canal, took photos of random houses that interested me and the only thing I paid for was the "BodyWorks" museum. I had seen stories about it where they took actual cadavers and in varying displays of the human form, showed medical examples of parts of the body.

I'm not squeamish, and I would assume if you go here, you wouldn't be squeamish. And at this point, if you were, you'd run out. They didn't allow photography, sadly, but that's why you have to pay. They even had lockers (€2) to put all bags & backpacks. 

The displays were absorbing. I saw what a normal heart looked like, saw an enlarged heart, slices of spleens and kidneys. Basically if your interest in the human body this is it. I believe this is still the only museum of its kind.

The project was the pursuit of happiness. It didn't tell me anything I didn't already know but it was nice. The sarcastic in me didn't actually do an eye roll, but there were a few unspoken "duh"s.

It got me out of the rain, their bathrooms were spacious and clean, what else did I want on a rainy day where I had no where in particular to go?

I wandered down the red like district-I think. I didn't see any ladies, but I figured the funny stores were enough entertainment!

I think the cable cars were very cool but I never knew where the sidewalk ended and the streets began, or if there's any sidewalk at all!

I tried the French fries or the frites with mayo. They must use a different mayo because it had a little something extra, just enough to make it yummy. Of course you get this paper cone and because I'm me, I got the mayo all over my hands and I felt like all over my chin as well.

Because it had been raining, I was waiting and waiting for the sun to part the clouds before I took the canal ride. Instead, it started raining harder. Unwilling to spend more time standing around, I decided to take the 5pm tour. In the meantime, I was hungry again!

I didn't understand because I kept eating the cheese samples-I constantly entered every cheese shop I could find-why would I be hungry? Instead of trying something else, I liked the guys at Dwaze so I went back there.

I decided to try the Amsterdam sausage sandwich on desem bread with sour onions! I shouldn't have been so adventurous with my tummy.

It was an open faced sandwich with pesto sauce with greens and red onions, devastating! But the sausage, to my eyes looked raw. I ate it, because I wanted to try it. The I set the sausage aside and ate the bread and green spring salad.

Since I ate lunch late at 4pm, the place was practically empty. So I grabbed the primo spot with a view of the busy Damrak, looks like a main thoroughfare that goes through the neighborhoods ending at Centraal Station.

I laughed when I paid, the young lady gave me a mint! It was a breath-alistic meal!

The canal tour was cool, but because of the rain, the glass windows were closed and all I got were spotted glass instead of the great canal shots I had wanted. It wasn't much of a tour-I only paid €10 so I didn't expect much. But I love the water and boats and I compared this to the khlong tours I've taken on Banglok, just not as fast.

I'm assuming because of the narrowness of the canals, the boats and made specifically to be long and narrow. But my biggest thrill was when my skipper made a 3pt turn on the middle of a canal so he can take another canal under a bridge!

Afterwards I went to Hema, a store similar to a target, got my new favorite food, a croissant filled with cheese and ham, more water and headed back.

Having never sleeping on a boat ever before, staying on a sailing boat in the main harbor of Amsterdam was my idea of doing something I've never done. I had the opportunity to stay in one of the house boats in the city canals,but considering I was traveling alone, to be so close to foot traffic seem unnecessarily daring.

So I stayed in an AirBNB on someone's sail boat. My first night was a bit challenging when the motion started to get to me, but I had Bonine and I was fine. Lying down was exactly what I thought it would be-sheer heaven. The gentle rocking was a salve to by travel weary body.

The second night, I had gotten my sea legs and the timing was perfect. There was a windstorm that felt like the boat word loose its moorings and I'd wake up somewhere in the North Sea! No such luck.

The ties held and despite the noise, it was absolutely comfy and warm(the owner provided a space heater). 

It was a warm and cozy ending to a wet and cold day.

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